Commission Extends Time for Whole Foods to Divest Wild Oats Stores Through March 2010

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At the request of the divestiture trustee, the FTC has extended the time Whole Foods Markets, Inc., via the trustee, will have to divest certain Wild Oats stores and the Wild Oats intellectual property, as required under a Commission order dated May 29, 2009. Under the Order, Whole Foods is required to divest 32 stores, including 13 operating and 19 closed Wild Oats locations and the Wild Oats brand. The Order required the Commission-appointed divestiture trustee to sell the stores to FTC-approved buyers by September 8, 2009 – six months after the Order became final.

The Order also provides that the Commission may extend the time another six months for any store (and the intellectual property) if the trustee has received bona fide offers for that store (or intellectual property) before September 8. On that day, the trustee filed a request seeking a six-month extension of the divestiture deadline. The FTC has now approved that request, and has extended the time period until March 8, 2010.

The Commission vote approving the extension of the divestiture time period was 4-0. (FTC Docket No. D-9324; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Assistant Director, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press release dated March 6, 2009, at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/03/wholefoods.shtm.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 50.2009.wpd)

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